Friday, 25 March 2016

Help us Cure Leg Ulcers by supporting the Leg Ulcer Charity

Welcome to the new leg ulcer Charity blog. We need to get your support so that patients with leg ulcers and healthcare professionals treating them understand:

  • Most leg ulcers can be permanently cured
  • Bandaging and compression treatment is not a cure, only a temporary healing
  • NICE guidelines agree all patients with leg ulcers need a duplex scan and referral to a vascular service

The Leg Ulcer Charity aims to spread the word and improve leg ulcer patients' quality of life

It is a medical fact that most leg ulcers can be cured. It is been proven since the late 1980s that if the underlying cause (usually varicose veins or "hidden varicose veins") is found and fixed, leg ulcers can be healed.

Unfortunately, most people with leg ulcers don't know this. Therefore they allow themselves to be subjected to constant dressings, bandaging and compression stockings, none of which reversed the underlying problem.

Not surprisingly, these compression therapies can let the leg ulcers heal temporarily. However they virtually always recur again once the compression is relieved.

It is totally illogical to use compression which is temporary as the same result could be obtained by permanently treating the underlying cause.

The Leg Ulcer Charity has been set up to address this problem. Unbelievably, there are some groups and advice networks for leg ulcers that concentrate on nutrition, dressings, coping with bandaging et cetera - but completely fail to tell patients that they might be curable.

Of course not all patients are curable and research estimates that some 30 to 40% of patients with leg ulcers might not have a curable condition. However this means that 60 to 70% (and in our own research 85%) of people with   venous leg ulcers could be permanently cured if only doctors and nurses followed the NICE guidelines and send patients with leg ulcers to vascular services where they could have a specialist duplex ultrasound scan.

The Leg Ulcer Charity is dedicated to spreading the word, supporting research and helping patients with advice and, if we can get enough funding, physically.

Please help us in any way you can and in particular, please try and help us raise funding so we can help people in the UK suffering from leg ulcers.

Ways you can help:

If you would like more information or have suggestions please contact us through

Please note - The Leg Ulcer Charity is a UK Registered Charity Number 1152113 


  1. This charity gave me valuable advice which made me aware of what treatment I should be seeking when I developed leg ulcers towards the end of 2015.

    I was quite surprised when I was referred to an Ulcer Clinic and the scans I received were not the ones which would determine whether I had incompetent veins but were only the ones which determined whether I was a suitable candidate for pressure bandaging.

    Being in the fortunate position of having insurance, I returned to my GP and received a referral into the private sector, where the correct scans were carried out and I went on to have laser surgery to correct the problems which were identified by those scans.

    In the meantime, I went into compression bandages and they did indeed cause my ulcers to heal. I mentioned to the nurse doing my dressings about the treatments which I should have been offered and how they were NICE approved and she went away and read the NICE guidelines and told me later that she was shocked at their contents as she had no idea and believed that she was following the gold standard with the pressure bandages she applied. I have to say that she did a very good job with the pressure bandages, but the willingness of the NHS not to look further than pressure bandages and then life-long pressure socks (assuming the ulcers didn't recur and put you back into pressure bandages) is mind-boggling considering that early surgery is much more cost-effective than keeping a patient in compression of one sort or another.

    My GP has seen my leg post-surgery and is impressed by my wound-free non-compressed leg.

    However, we need to educate a huge number of health-care professionals and make them aware of the availability and affordability of 21st Century treatments for leg ulcers. We also need to address the clinical commissioning groups, who control the purse strings, and make them aware of how cost-effective once-off laser surgery is compared with treating a patient for years with compression bandages and socks. There may be an element of face-saving required with the clinical commissioning groups, as they are the ones who appear to be denying NICE-approved treatment to leg ulcer sufferers and they need some way to change their policy with regard to vascular surgery which can be seen as a positive decision rather than an embarrassing U-turn.

    OK, leg ulcers aren't immediately life-threatening, but I strongly feel that referral to a specialist venous clinic should be done with the same urgency as cancer referrals. Leg ulcers can get very out of control very quickly and getting a patient seen within two weeks of a leg ulcer appearing may make a huge difference to the scale of the problem. My GP's practice didn't even want to upgrade my leg ulcer from "wound" to "ulcer" until I'd had it for 6 weeks and it was only because it escalated so rapidly that I got a referral to an Ulcer Clinic as soon as I did - but by the time I'd waited for my appointment, that was about 6 weeks from when the original ulcer appeared, by which time I had four expanding ulcers which virtually joined up a week later. Had I been seen by a specialist venous clinic after 2 weeks and had timely surgery, some of those additional ulcers may never have formed.

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences - The only point that I want to highlight is when you say that after the EVLT (Endovenous Laser Treatment) the compression worked .... it wasn't actually the compression, it was the EVLT. It takes an average of 18 weeks to heal after EVLT - but provided you are walking, the healing will occur with or without the compression. Best wishes

    2. Mark, I had the compression BEFORE surgery. I actually had joined-up skin at the time of my surgery. Very fragile joined-up skin, but joined-up skin nonetheless. I haven't been in compression post-surgery. The site of my ulcers continues to improve. It's been just over 2 months now and it is no longer dark purple, but pink with a few tinges of purple and some normal-coloured skin is starting to show between where the worst parts of the wounds were located.

    3. Ah - that makes more sense :-) Once you have had the surgery then you shouldn't need compression. I am glad that is the case! Best wishes

  2. I was fortunate to have an understanding employer who allowed a great deal of home-working and reasonable time off to attend clinics to get my dressings changed, but not everyone of working age will be in a position to work at home and leg ulcers, particularly when treated with the cycle of pressure bandages and pressure socks, may well be career threatening. Such leg ulcers are not just costing the NHS money with continual dressings, but they are also placing people within the overstretched welfare system, when a simple operation can cure them and restore them to the workforce.

    We really need to educate the health care professionals and the clinical commissioning groups about the cost-effective treatments available for leg ulcers. It isn't just the NHS who will save money. People will also be kept off Disability Benefit as they will remain fit to work. This in turn will obviate the need for carers for those people, which will be another indirect financial saving, as those carers will be able to do something more useful than look after people who aren't being cured of their curable conditional. Last but not least, the leg ulcer sufferers themselves will be able to pick up the threads of their lives. Apart from remaining in the workforce (if of an age to do so) they will be able to enjoy a full range of activities. They will be able to enjoy a walk around the shops or a walk in the park; and they will be able to enjoy a visit to the swimming pool. And let's not forget that they won't be in pain any more.

    Come on NHS: it's not often that you're asked to do something which will simultaneously benefit patients and save money, so now that we are asking for this, please find a way to make it happen.